A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Announcing Our Winner!

Time to pick our Bash and the Pirate Pig winner!

Just about everything a mom does in a large family is a group activity.  Selecting our winner was no exception.

Eli volunteered his helmet as the "bucket" for our names.  After considerable mixing, Katie selected one.

The tension mounts...  Who will it be??

A huge congratulations to Gwen, who is almost 9!  Bobbi Jo, please contact me by 10/3 to claim your prize.

Isn't winning fun?  Last year, when we were waiting on our adoption, I won a Got Love? Adopt t-shirt.  Then I won a necklace.  I picked out one that said, "Count your blessings" and have numbers 1-10 scattered lightly in the background.  It seemed so appropriate.

Lately, it seems like I've won a bunch of stuff.  I won a DVD.  Which landed me a reviewing gig.  Which I've really been enjoying.  Most recently, I won a pair of sunglasses and a phonics curriculum.  Last night, I found out that I won $35 in Usborne books!  I checked the MFW website to see what Usborne books they use next year, and voila! I've got a jump on next year's school curriculum!  

If you would like to win something, too, check out our current giveaways!

Top Mommy Blogs - Click To Vote!   Thanks for clicking for us!


Just the name Fundanoodle makes me smile.  I believe this is Katie's second review.  We received the I Can Doodle pad and the I Can Do Fun Activities pad.  I Can Doodle is HUGE!  When the box came, I thought it was some sort of wall art.  I was pleasantly surprised to discover it was our Fundanoodle package.

I Can Do Fun Activities retails for $11.99, and I Can Doodle has a retail price of $9.99.

These floor pads are both part of the 3 year old Learning System at Fundanoodle, designed for kids age 3 and up.  Katie turned 3 a couple weeks after the box arrived.  We "cheated" a little and started using them even before her birthday because they looked like so much fun!

Not only did Katie enjoy these materials, but everyone else did, too.  Hannah has been "off track" from school, and the girls could color together or play school while sharing a page.  My other students used the I Can Doodle pad for everything from election campaign posters to literally doodling.

I think I need one of these giant doodle pads as part of our annual homeschool budget.  I find myself using it for drawing maps, making posters, etc.  I love the adhesive strip at the top.  It's like a giant Post-It note!  My only problem is that I tended to rip into the handle when removing a single sheet from the pad.  

As Katie is still learning English, the I Can Do Fun Activities pad was not only beneficial for the obvious preschool activities, it was also fabulous for building her vocabulary.  Words like, crayons, color, the names of colors, the various objects depicted within the pad... all of these were things we could label for her, and she soaked it up!  

Katie's hands are a little different from yours and mine, due to amniotic band syndrome, and I was pleased to see her compensate well when it came to holding crayons, markers, and colored pencils.  Nothing slows her down!

Katie liked the fun activities pad, and she LOVED putting stickers on each page as she finished!  

Having the I Can Do Fun Activities pad on hand was a great way to redirect her scribbling from Jack's math book.  Not that my little cutie pie would ever do such a thing.  Ahem.

Additional members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew reviewed these and other Fundanoodle products.  Click the box below to read what they had to say!


 photo Disclaimer2_zpsff718028.gif

Top Mommy Blogs - Click To Vote!   Thanks for clicking for us!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Happy Birthday, Katie!

This little girl is so precious!  I'm a lucky mama.  She has absorbed so much in the last few months.  She's smart and cute and cuddly and funny.  And LOUD.

When Paul is home, she tells him, "I need go bye bye!"  So he takes her with him to Costco, where she charms everyone who crosses her path.

Instead of "I need help," Katie says, "Mama help you!" when she's stuck or frustrated.

She's a great mimic.  Unfortunately.  She highlights the demanding way Hannah says, "C'you gimme some milk?" at dinner by parroting it after her.  Hmm, gotta work on that.  And as for the things she's picked up from the boys, well, let's not go there!

She's feisty enough to fend for herself with all those boys, too.  The LOUD part comes in handy.

She likes bags and backpacks she can put stuff in and tote it around the house.  It's been a challenge explaining to her that the whole house is not a giant toy box.  We try to keep the toys contained in the bedrooms and the playroom, but if Katie's playing, they find their way into the school room and the front room, as well.

She sings to Luke at night.  "Night night, Lukey, night night, Lukey, night night Lukey, it timuh go nigh night!"

She's walking all the time now, and can go up and down the stairs standing (although it's still faster to go down on her belly).

She's a delight, and a treasure, and we are so blessed to have her.  This girl that we loved from afar for so long is finally ours.

Happy birthday, little sweetheart.  Mama "lu du!"

Ni Hao Yall

Top Mommy Blogs - Click To Vote! Spare a click for us?

Are you thinking Christmas yet?

I'm starting to think about Christmas.  Well, more than that, I'm starting my SHOPPING!  With so many to buy for, I have to spread it out a little or else OUCH!

One of the things we decided early on in our marriage was that each person gets 3 gifts at Christmas, since Jesus received three gifts from the wise men.  This makes my life much easier, and eliminates those "one more thing" impulse buys at the end of the holiday shopping season.

Now, our 3 gifts rule does not cover 2 extras:  pajamas and stockings.  Every year, the kids get new jammies on Christmas Eve.

Luke is getting these adorable turtle PJs from zulily.com (affiliate link).  I used to make the kids' jammies.  And some years, they even matched.  But I'm so not there right now.  Rather than stress out about it, I'm letting go of the guilt and buying cute ones that make me smile.  I'd tell you what cute pajamas the girls are getting, but a couple of those girls are old enough to read this...

You know what else I saw on Zulily?  Doll stuff.  A search for DOLL this morning reveals 252 results.  They have some doll & me girls clothes ending today, and a doll event going.  Even some Madame Alexander pieces.  Not all blonde dolls, either!  I'm happy to see dolls of color included in several lines.  I wanted to get Hannah a doll cradle for her birthday, but ended up doing something different.  Now, with Katie home, they play dolls together, and I think they would really enjoy something like these and some accessories.  How cheap am I, that I'm thinking I could wrap the two beds separately for Hannah and Katie?  It would mean less fighting than leaving them as a doll bunk bed.  Hannah's pretty good about sharing, but Katie is fiercely territorial, and it does get old sometimes.

The other thing that falls outside the 3 gifts rule is stockings.  Some years, stockings are lean, with little more than candy, socks/underwear, and tiny personal care items.  Some years, the stockings are more generous, with fun trinkets and little toys.  Personally, I would love to see a new flexiclip or two in my own stocking.

Have you started your shopping yet?  I'm going about it kind of backwards, as I've started shopping but I haven't made my list yet!  I need to keep an ear out for all the "I wants"  the kids randomly spurt.  I know Hannah has been wanting a Leap Pad like Jack's.  I haven't decided whether to upgrade him to the newer one and let him pass his down to her, or to go pink and get her a girly one.

Happy hunting!  May you find thoughtful gifts at bargain prices this year, and be relaxed enough to enjoy the holiday season without worrying about the cost.

Top Mommy Blogs - Click To Vote! Thanks for clicking for us!

LeapFrog Enterprises Inc.

Rufus and Ryan Go to Church! - GIVEAWAY

I love board books!  The sturdiness, the simplicity, (the fact that they only take a few minutes to read when I'm exhausted at night,) they're just awesome.  Board books encourage pre-readers to develop a love for books.  As a mom and as a homeschooler, I'm all about helping kids love books!

So when I got the chance to review Rufus and Ryan Go to Church! from Ideals Publishing, I was excited.  Although this book is designed for ages 2-5, Hannah, age 6, also enjoyed it.

Both my girls liked pointing to the monkey (Rufus) on each page.  In fact, Katie learned a new word.  I don't think she'd run across "monkey" since we came home.  

Author Kathleen Long Bostrom and illustrator Rebecca Thornburgh have created a cute little book designed to familiarize kids with what happens in a church service.  The main character, Ryan, takes his stuffed monkey, Rufus, to church with him.  Friendly people of all colors and ages fill the pages.  They sing, they have a Bible story, they pray, and they snack.

This book is the first in a series, and the next book is called, Rufus and Ryan Say Their Prayers.  The retail price for these books is $7.99.  You can find Ideals Publishing on Facebook.

Would you like to win a copy of this adorable board book?  Enter below!  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Top Mommy Blogs - Click To Vote! Thanks for clicking for us!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Weekly Wrap Up Homeschool Week 5

More on Egypt and pyramids and such this week.

We found a website where you can type and it shows the Egyptian hieroglyphic counterparts on the screen.  Very cool!  

We created pyramid mazes in art.

Eli built his Nanoblock Giza's Big Pyramid (affiliate link).   

He had such fun with the Nanoblock sets he made last year, I'm glad I could get this one for him this year.  There are a couple sets that may be appropriate next year if he still has interest in them.  

Brianna has a sense of humor.  See the green block in the picture?  "Limestone."

Eli taking a blank map of the Middle East and drawing in current political borders.  

We're working on memorizing the books of the Old Testament.  (Eli captured this "moment," hence the huh? expression.)  

Bright eyed Jack's pyramid drawing.

Brianna multi-tasking.  She usually knits while I read aloud to the kids.  Now she even knits when she's reading to herself.  I'm in awe, since I can't knit at all.  

Also this week, Luke said goodbye to one of his therapists, who is moving away. 

Next week, we're looking forward to starting a new wellness curriculum, learning about Abraham, and finishing our dinosaur book.  We also have a trip to the pumpkin patch, a play date, Luke's physical therapy, hearing tests at the audiologist for both Hannah (failed her school physical hearing exam) and Lukey, Luke's feeding therapy, and our first Friday art class at the library.  Sounds like A LOT of activity.  It will be interesting to see how this all works out.

Linking up with:

Top Mommy Blogs - Click To Vote!  Spare a click for us?  Thank you!